A fundamentalist preacher has sought to backtrack after remarks he made about married women and sex were fiercely condemned.
A fundamentalist preacher has sought to backtrack after remarks he made about married women and sex were fiercely condemned.

Australian preacher under fire over controversial sermon

A RELIGIOUS preacher has sought to backtrack after remarks he made about married women and sex were fiercely condemned.

Nassim Abdi, a fundamentalist Sunni preacher, said wives who refuse sex with their husbands are committing a "major sin".

"If the husband calls the wife to be intimate and there is no legitimate reason for the woman to say no, then she must answer the call of her husband," he said at an Auburn mosque in western Sydney on Friday. "And if he sleeps with her whilst he's angry, the angels curse her until she wakes up."

The Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah Association, which Abdi is part of, has removed footage of the sermon from YouTube and issued a clarification.

Abdi said the "problematic statement" was a "clear slip of the tongue".

"The correct wording was meant to be that 'he goes to sleep while angry with her'.

"In regards to marital rape, I 100 per cent do not condone this. I do not accept rape in or outside of marriage, or anything that may even lead to rape."

He went on to say marriage was a "sacred contract", and that "both a man and a woman have rights and responsibilities … to each other".

"In this case, we spoke about one of the rights of the man, and that is his right to marital relations with the woman. And his wife, in Islam, is told that if he calls her for any reason, to answer, and if she refuses without a legitimate reason, this can bring her the anger of Allah.

"Just like if the man refuses to look after the wife - if he oppresses her, refuses to spend on her, to look after his children … this also brings about a major sin from the husband."

The preacher's comments have been slammed by media commentators and politicians.

Catharine Lumby, a feminist media professor at Macquarie University, said his words were a form of hate speech.

"I don't care if you're Muslim or Christian or Jewish or any other faith. You do not preach that you can assault your wife," she told 7 News.

Likewise Minister for Family and Community Services Pru Goward said he's "completely out of step with Australian values, because nobody in Australia thinks it's a sin to say no to sex".

In a statement, NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman slammed the sermon as "repugnant". "Respect for all women is a central value of Australian society. The views expressed by this preacher are repugnant to those values."

This isn't Abdi's first brush with controversy.

Last November - on the same day the "Yes" vote on same-sex marriage was announced - he described homosexuality as "unnatural", comparing it with bestiality and paedophilia.

He has also chastised Muslim women for showing their ears and neck in public.

According to The Australian, the national branch of the ASWJ has alleged ties to al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiah, the group behind the 2002 Bali bombings.



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